Sony HX80: For those desperate to get a tiny superzoom

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX80 Digital CameraIf you really need a 30x zoom (roughly 24mm-720mm in full-frame equivalent terms) that will fit in your shirt pocket, the might fit the bill. It has the usual nicely-speced Sony electronics, backing up its relatively-small 18MP 1/2.3-inch sensor. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support Adobe RGB, and it doesn’t support RAW, so it’s not likely to be the right solution for you. If you don’t need the 30x zoom, you’re also better off getting a similar-sized model that does have those features, like the  (for a similar price). You can pre-order the now from B&H for $350, and it is expected to ship in mid-April.

Panasonic Lumix ZS50 Superzoom compact camera passes its field test

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 Digital Camera (Black)No segment of the camera market has improved as quickly as the superzoom point and shoots. Originally more of a gimmick than a real tool, these tiny models are now quite capable of producing very usable images. However, to get their massive zoom ranges crammed into a few-ounce body means using a fairly small sensor. Likewise, electronics are limted by their weight and low price, so exposure, focus, and the EVF also suffer. To see what the new models are capable of, I brought along the new with me to Africa on safari to field test (in addition to my primary DSLR of course). For the most part I was pleasantly surprised with the results, but it certainly had some drawbacks as well…

Quick tip on when your next point and shoot should be a superzoom

While smartphones have put a large dent in the compact camera market, tens of millions are still sold, and I often get asked about what features to look for when purchasing one. Headline numbers in ads often include not just resolution, but zoom range. Some models, like the I'm currently testing, offer ranges up to 30:1 (effectively a 720mm telephoto lens at the long end). It is really tempting to think, "Wow! Why not get one that does that?" However, there are tradeoffs...